The Voices cheered. They had found a place to have fun again! As long as they stayed there, everything would be fine. Right? It didn’t matter that the world was ending around them, of course not. They were the Voices, and their purpose was to have fun. Someone else could save the world. They were too busy playing with these hamsters. “Eat it! Eat it!” they yelled. Hamtaro looked up in the sky. They wanted him to eat the shiny rock? But it didn’t look tasty at all…
Outside that pocket dimension, a man and a boy watch. Curt is the first to talk. “Fragments of time… Who made this?” “We did. Or more technically, I did. You helped me, of course, but it was a future version of you.” Curt raised his eyebrow. “What do you mean?” Bill looks at him. He is just a kid. This is not the man he once knew, not yet. “Both of us worked on the Initiative, but you don’t remember because it hasn’t happened for you yet. And at this rate, it will probably never happen. What a paradox, isn’t it?”
Curt feels so confused. This man, Bill, has appeared out of nowhere and taken him… outside? They are using a machine called the Improbity Badge. “It’s a modified version that I managed to swipe. It keeps us from disappearing in the void.” he has said. Curt needs to get an answer. “So, are you saying that you come from my future?” “Yes and no. You see, time is not linear. Not anymore, at least. We met in a timeline that no longer exists.” “And in that timeline… we worked together in something called the Initiative?” “Right, the T.O.U.H.O.U. Initiative. Enough explanations. Now, follow me.”
Bill suddenly starts walking and Curt takes what he thinks is a second to react. “Wait, I have more questions!” But Bill keeps walking and he has to do the same. They go right through another fragment. As if it were a glass window, they see a blue-haired girl trapped in a room while the water level rises fast.
Azure was scared, but she would not give up. She had to find a way out and rescue Evan! The ship was sinking and she didn’t have much time. Opening the door had proved unsuccessful and she had considered jumping through the window, but it was too small. She had no options left, except… She heard a voice. Slowly, it got louder and louder until it drowned her. “Hello Azure. We see you are in trouble.” “Who are you?” she asked as the water finally covered her nose. “We are OLDEN, and we have a deal for you.”
“Is… is she going to be ok?” Curt wonders. “How could I know? I don’t even know who she is. Listen, I have a plan. But first we must meet a special someone who can help us. We do not have the power to fix the world, but she migh” They keep walking, looking for the correct fragment. “Oh, that is an interesting one” Bill points at a squirtle and a pikachu walking in a forest. “It seems to be a direct ramification of the main fragment. We will have to keep an eye on it.”
The boy who follows him is amazed at the endless probabilities before his eyes. Many different timelines, many different versions of the same events. A new question strikes him. It feels so important now. How hadn’t he realized? “Bill, can I ask you one last thing?” After hesitating for a moment, he agrees. “As long as you stop making questions after this one and get to work.” “So, you say there are multiple timelines and that in the current state of things it’s easy to jump between them.” “Correct. That is what we are doing right now.” “Then, why don’t I remember any of this?” “I have told you, it has not happened to you yet.” “What I mean is… if it’s so easy to reach a specific point in time, why did you come to rescue a past version of me? Why didn’t you save the Curt from your time, who could be much more helpful than me?”
Bill stops walking. He had avoided the question until now, but there it was. In a different universe he would outright lie to him, but not in this. After all, he was his friend, even if he didn’t remember. “Kid…” He was late to save him. The timeline was too corrupted to extract Curt after the events at the Gatekeepers headquarters. His only option had been to find a moment in the timeline that was safe. That loop had been perfect, a stable time fragment where he could anticipate everything. But it was so far behind his own time. In a sense, he had betrayed his friend. Not only that, he had erased everything that he ever was. He had killed the Curt he knew. But in compensation he had saved a version of him that would not have to carry the guilt of what he had done. It was all a matter of perspective. “I’m sorry, Curt.” To save his friend, he had to steal from him the last thirty years of his life. “I’m so sorry.”